They say that Major League Baseball's Draft is a crapshoot in terms of actually fulfilling its purpose of finding championship-caliber talent. If that's the case, then scouts were throwing some hot dice back in 2011.The rosters of the eight Division Series teams are dotted with players from that class, with
They say that Major League Baseball's Draft is a crapshoot in terms of actually fulfilling its purpose of finding championship-caliber talent. If that's the case, then scouts were throwing some hot dice back in 2011.
The rosters of the eight Division Series teams are dotted with players from that class, with 10 of the top 50 picks currently playing. Six of the top 11 selections have a chance for a ring, all but one with the team that drafted him.
The exception is Trevor Bauer, who was taken No. 3 overall by the D-backs and was part of the huge three-team trade involving Arizona, Cincinnati and Cleveland (Coincidentally, Didi Gregorius, now the Yankees shortstop, was also involved in that trade.). It's taken him a little while, but he's entrenched now as a solid member of the Indians rotation and led his team to a 4-0 win with 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees and Sonny Gray, who was also a first-round pick in 2011.
The D-backs' other top 10 pick that year came at No. 7, compensation for not signing 2010 first-rounder Shane Loux. That turned out to be right-hander Archie Bradley, who rushed to the big leagues, but had some difficulty establishing himself there. A move to the bullpen has paid huge dividends as he's been one of the best setup men in baseball and already contributed a memorable postseason moment with his two-run triple in the Wild Card Game on Wednesday.
Anthony Rendon was the No. 6 pick that June, sliding from being the potential No. 1 selection because of injury concerns. This is already his third playoff run with the Nationals and he's gone a combined 10-for-39 (.256/.293/.333) in his nine NLDS games in 2014 and 2015.
The Francisco Lindor -Javier Baez storyline played out in last year's World Series, with the pair of Florida high school shortstops having gone No. 8 and 9. Lindor, taken one spot ahead of Baez, has made two All-Star teams already and set a career high in home runs, RBIs, slugging and OPS this season. Baez, last year's NLCS MVP, continues to be the best every day utilityman in baseball, one who set his own career bests in homers, RBIS, SLG and OPS. While he saw the majority of his time at second and short, he also logged innings at third, first and even right field.
George Springer went No. 11 overall, coming out of UConn, with fellow Huskie Matt Barnes going later in the first round as well, though Barnes was left off the Red Sox's playoff roster this year. Like his middle infield counterparts, Springer set new marks in a host of offensive categories as the Astros ran away with the AL West.
If that was it, it would be interesting enough. But the 2011 Draft keeps on giving. A total of 11 members of MLBPipeline.com's Draft Top 50 are still playing. Beyond the six mentioned above (Rendon was the highest ranked at No. 2, with Bauer at No. 6, Lindor at No. 9, Springer at No. 11, Bradley at No. 12 and Baez at No. 16), Gray is the highest-ranked player (No. 10 coming out of Vanderbilt) on a playoff roster. He went No. 18 to the A's and stayed with them until this summer's deadline deal that made him a Yankee. Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was No. 28 on that Top 50, while Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin was No. 38, D-backs reliever Andrew Chafin -- winner of the Wild Card game -- was No. 38 and Astros outfielder Derek Fisher was No. 41.
The Red Sox got Bradley with the 40th overall selection, while Chafin went three picks later to Arizona at No. 43. Fisher is the outlier. He didn't sign out of high school in 2011 after the Rangers took him in the sixth round. That has worked to the Astros' benefit as they selected him No. 37 overall in 2014, after he had honed his craft for three years at the University of Virginia.
As with most Drafts, it's not just top picks who pan out. Joe Musgrove is a part of the Astros' playoff pitching staff and he was selected No. 46 overall by the Blue Jays before being traded to the Astros in July 2012. Dodgers lefty Tony Cingrani was a Reds pick in the third round, Indians hurler Mike Clevinger was taken by the Angels in the fourth, Yankees first baseman Greg Bird and Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts were both fifth-round selections, Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks was an eighth-rounder taken by the Rangers, while Cubs infielder Thomas La Stella was taken in the same round by the Braves. Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes was a ninth-round pick of the Marlins. Indians closer Cody Allen went in the 23rd round, Astros reliever Chris Devenski was a 25th-round pick of the White Sox and Cubs right-hander C.J. Edwards finishes off this robust list as a 48th-round pick of the Rangers that June.
Not every Division Series roster has been set, so tentative rosters were used. Regardless of that, it's clear the 2011 Draft has already made a huge impact at the Major League level.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.